A veterinarian who surgically implanted liquid heroin in puppies on behalf of Colombian drug traffickers has been sentenced to six years in prison, the DEA announced this week.
On Thursday, Andres Lopez Elorez was sentenced in a Brooklyn court after he plead guilty to charges of conspiring to import heroin into the United States back in September. The scheme by Elorez involved the veterinarian implanting the liquid heroin by stitching the packets in their bodies. Prosecutors say Elorez leased a farm in Medellin, Colombia where he raised the dogs and implanted the heroin into nine puppies that were being imported to the United States.
“Every dog has its day, and with today’s sentence, Elorez has been held responsible for the reprehensible use of his veterinary skills to conceal heroin inside puppies as part of a scheme to import dangerous narcotics into the United States,” said United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Richard P. Donoghue. “This office and our law enforcement partners will continue to investigate and prosecute drug trafficking organizations, operating here and abroad, to reduce the availability of opioids and save American lives.”
The scheme first came to law enforcement's attention after officials raided the puppy farm on Jan 1. 2005. Officials say they seized 17 bags of liquid heroin, including ten bags that were removed from the puppies.
Three of the puppies died following surgery to remove the heroin after they contracted a virus.
Law enforcement sought to arrest Elorez at the time, but he became a fugitive. Authorities finally caught up with Elorez in Spain in 2015. He was extradited to the U.S. in May 2018.
Two of the puppies rescued from the farm went on to bigger and better things. Donna, a beagle, was adopted by a Colombian police officer and his family. Another puppy, named Heroina, went on to be trained by Colombian police to be a drug detection dog.